Artabazus (fl.362-328 BC)

Artabazus (fl.362-328 BC)

Artabazus (fl.362-328 BC)

Artabazus (fl.362-328) BC was a Persian satrap who rebelled against Artaxerxes III but was pardoned, served Darius III loyally and was taken into the service of Alexander the Great.

In the 350s Artabazus rebelled against the new Persian emperor, Artaxerxes III, in the fourth and final stage of the Satrap's Revolt, possibly because the new Emperor had ordered the satraps to disband their mercenary armies. The success of his revolt seems to have depended almost entirely on Greek mercenaries. First he hired Chares, an Athenian commander during the Social War. Chares found himself very short of money, and so agreed to support Artabazus in return for a large payment.

The combined forces of Chares and Artabazus defeated a force sent by the loyal satraps, said by Diodorus to have been 70,000 strong. According to Plutarch Chares wrote to Athens claiming that his victory was 'sister to that at Marathon'. Soon afterwards Artaxerxes III sent ambassadors to Athens to denounce Chares and threatened to provide support for Athens's opponents in the Social War. The Athenian Assembly decided not to take the risk, recalled Chares and ended the Social War.

After Chares was withdrawn Artabazus turned to Thebes for assistance. The Thebans, who were then engaged in a costly war with Phocis (Third Sacred War, 355-346 BC) decided to send a force under Pammenes. Pammenes won two battles over the loyal satraps, but Artabazus then suspected him of entering into communications with the loyalists, and had him killed. Soon afterwards Artabazus was forced to flee into exile in Macedon.

Artabazus was eventually pardoned. His sister married the Greek mercenary Mentor of Rhodes (brother of the more famous Memnon of Rhodes). Mentor eventually won his way back into favour, and convinced Artaxerxes III to pardon Memnon and Mentor as well. According to Diodorus Artabazus and his wife had produced eleven sons and ten daughters, and the sons were given commands by Mentor. Amongst his sons were Pharnabazus, who commanded in the Aegean after the death of Memnon, Cophen, who Darius trusted with part of his treasury after Issus, Ariobarzanes and Arsames, who are recorded when their father surrendered to Alexander.

When Darius fled into the east of his empire after suffering a second defeat at Guagamela, Artabazus and his sons accompanied him. When Bessus took Darius prisoner Artabazus and his party stayed loyal, and left Bessus's small army. After the murder of Darius, Artabazus and three of his sons surrendered to Alexander at Zadracarta, just to the south-east of the Caspian Sea. Alexander rewarded them for their loyalty to Darius and high rank by keeping them in a position of honour with his army.

Alexander almost immediately made use of his services, sending him to take the surrender of 1,500 Greek mercenaries who had been serving with the Persians. He was then given command of an expedition against the Areians. As part of his efforts to win over the Persian nobility he made Artabazus satrap of Bactria. During the pursuit of the rebel leader Spitamenes he was given joint command of one of the five columns used to isolate him, and sent into Scythia in pursuit. Soon afterwards Artabazus asked to be allowed to retire because of his age.

Artabazus's daughters were married into the Macedonian high command. His daughter Artacama was married to Ptolemy and Artonis was married to Eumenes, his royal secretary. Alexander himself probably married Barsine, the daughter of Artabazus and a Royal princess. They may have had a son, Heracles, who first appears in the records twelve years after Alexander's death, casting some doubt on the legitimacy of his claim.

Artabazos I of Phrygia

Artabazus (Persian:آرتابازوس, Ancient Greek: Ἀρτάβαζος fl. 480 BC - 455 BC) was the name of a satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia (now northwest Turkey), under the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia.

Artabazus, son of Pharnaces, was one of the generals in Xerxes' invasion of Greece, in charge of the reserve forces guarding the route back to Asia, and responsible for suppressing a revolt in Potidaea. Ώ] The invasion ended with Mardonius, ignoring advice from Artabazus and others, meeting the Greeks in pitched battle at Plataea and being defeated (479 BC). The Greeks followed up their victory by sailing to Ionia, where they destroyed the garrisoning forces under Tigranes at Mycale in the same year. Artabazus, however, managed to lead the remnant portion of a greatly reduced Persian army out of Greece and back to Ionia. ΐ] According to Herodotus and Plutarch this force consisted of 40,000 men. Herodotus claims in Thessaly he did not reveal the defeat as he would have been attacked, but claimed he needed to go to Thrace on a special mission. He was able to return to Persian territory despite losing men in attacks in Thrace.

As a reward, Artabazus was made satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia. This office was passed down to his descendants. He was succeeded by his son, Pharnabazus (fl. 455 BC - 430 BC), of whom little is known, and then by his grandson Pharnaces II of Phrygia (fl. 430 BC - 413 BC), who is known to have been satrap at the outset of the Peloponnesian War. Pharnaces was in turn succeeded by his son, another Pharnabazus (fl. 413 BC - 373 BC), who is well known for his rivalry with Tissaphernes and wars against the Spartans.

Barsine was the daughter of Artabazus, a Persian nobleman. She was married first to Mentor of Rhodes and, when he died, to his brother Memnon. Apparently she had received a Greek education, although it is not clear whether this was as preparation for, or as a result of her marriages to Greeks (Pl. Alex. 21.4).

At some point in the 340s BC, Artabazus and his family were guests at Philip&rsquos court, following an unsuccessful rebellion of satraps against the Artaxerxes III Ochus (Diod. 16.52.3-4 Curt. 5.9.1, 6.5.2). While at Philip&rsquos court, Barsine might have come to know the teenage Alexander, who was later to play a much larger role in her life.

When Darius III appointed Memnon as supreme commander of the forces in Asia Minor in 334 BC, charged with stopping Alexander&rsquos advance, Barsine travelled to the Great King's court&mdashpossibly as a hostage, but certainly for safety. She was therefore at Darius&rsquo court when she was widowed&mdashMemnon died at Mitylene, of illness, in early 333 BC.

Later that year she travelled with the court to Damascus, where she remained while Darius and his army progressed to meet Alexander at Issus (November 333 BC). Alexander won the battle, however, and Barsine was still at Damascus when she was captured by Parmenion, who sent her to Alexander (Pl. Alex. 21.4).

Alexander's made her his mistress, possibly very soon afterwards, and apparently very much at Parmenion&rsquos urging. She appears to have travelled with the army for the next five years (Pl. Alex. 21.4). At some point in early 327 BC she bore Alexander a son, Heracles (Pl. Eum. 1 Just. 11.10). We do not know where the boy was born, as at some unknown point Barsine was sent back to the west (presumably when she first became pregnant, as at the time the army was engaged in a desperate guerrilla war in Bactria and Sogdia&mdashhardly the best conditions for a pregnant woman!).

Barsine did not play any role in the rest of Alexander&rsquos history. One of her daughters, from her marriage to Mentor, married Nearchus in 324 BC (Arr. 7.4.6) and Nearchus unsuccessfully tried to advance Heracles&rsquo claim to Alexander&rsquos throne after the king died (Curt. 10.6.10-12 see also Just. 13.2). Heracles was eventually killed by Cassander in around 316 BC (Just. 15.2 Eusebius, Chronicle).

Ηγεμών Αθἠνα and the warring states of ΑΣΙΑ/ A 460 BC Athens hegemony ATL.

Xerxes II continued the siege of Megabyzid Nineveh into the next year. Reinforced by Achaemenid prince Darius, the Persian army in the west maintained control over central Mesopotamia, as well as an expanding sphere of economic influence and ephemeral raids on Assyrian centers in the north. This both assured supplies to his forces, and denied them to the enemy.

Prince Darius had secured the northern riverine entrance of Nineveh, and Xerxes II the southern riverine entrance, so that towns along the Tigris could not supply the capital. The trade network along the Tigris was erased. Many towns began to starve as all supplies were drawn to Xerxes’ army.

With a crisis of food and water, and his capital surrounded, Syrian king Artabazus knew he had to strike soon. Expecting his forces to be resupplied and reinforced by his sub-satraps after the battle, Artabazus mobilized as much of the population as possible to launch an all-out strike against the besiegers.

Artabazus stationed most of his archers and peltasts (takabara) in the western part of the city, launching flaming arrows at the army of Prince Darius in the north, as well as sorties by Aramaean recruits attacking from the southwest as a misdirection. Darius assumed that the bulk of the Syrian infantry were in western Nineveh, and moved his forces there. Both sides exchanged flaming arrows. Meanwhile, Artabazus’ heavy infantry sallied out of the west and north gates.

The western contingent of infantry was bogged down by Darius’ forces however, the northern contingent led by Artabazus pushed through the weak fortifications of the besiegers. They joined the western sortie, and Darius met them with his reserves. Artabazus rode out with his cavalry to charge Darius’ drawn out forces with great success. But once bogged down in battle, the satrap of Syria was unable to retreat and charge again.

Xerxes II became aware of the fighting at the western gates and sent his reinforced cavalry and archers to pick off the defenders. At the same time, his infantry began preparing the assault of the city by siege towers, constructed a few days before, though they were also ready to reinforce Darius if needed.

Artabazus’ sortie was surrounded and crushed at heavy losses to both sides, and Artabazus, his cavalry, and remaining heavy infantry managed a quick retreat back into the city while archers and takabara shot from the walls. Now undermanned, the satrap’s army was only numerous enough for a calculated defense, if that.

So Xerxes shored up his forces and readied his siege engines for an assault. Nineveh must fall, he reasoned, before the western vassals have a chance to respond.

The following morning, six Persian siege towers assaulted the southern walls of Nineveh, Persian infantry slaughtering the defending archers. The southern gate was battered open and Xerxes and Darius sent their troops in a combined assault.

Artabazus positioned his Greek mercenaries--hoplites--in defensive lines in the streets of the city, cutting down as many attackers as possible and even charging towards them to stop their offensive. But the Persian advance continued until the defending lines were overstretched, enough hoplites killed by arrow fire, and untrained reserves had to fill in the gaps.

The Megabyzids ceded more and more of the city as their numbers dwindled. But suddenly, one of the Syrian captains at the north gate received a message: the armies of the sub-satraps had arrived.

The captains of Melitene and Halab and the sub-satrap of Hatti joined the street combat in Nineveh. At the same time, Mardonius, the Viceroy of Cilicia, attacked the Persians from the south, hoping to surround them. Seizing the siege engines, Mardonius placed his archers on the walls, firing down on the Persians inside the city. Shield-bearers and other heavy infantry then charged forth to meet the Achaemenid forces.

Surrounded in the enemy capital, the forces of Xerxes II were thrown into a panic. Some surrendered, others fought fiercely to the death. Xerxes was killed in battle. while Darius was nowhere to be found--it was rumored that he had escaped even before Xerxes’ assault.

The eastern reaches of the Megabyzid Syrian kingdom, and the capital Nineveh, were devastated by the war. But this Persian invasion was over, for now. Artabazus I was victorious, and Mardonius of Cilicia became dangerously popular among the Syrian nobility.

Darius returned to Babylon as Persian emperor Darius II, with the difficult task of keeping dynastic politics in line after a humiliating defeat. His solution was a purge of the Persian court to prevent any challengers from rising, as well as lowered taxation and tribute from the satraps to prevent their rebellion. The occupied territories were returned to Artabazus I, and Arioxabanes of Armenia looked at Persian territory with ambitions of conquest.

Egypt and Cyprus campaigns [ edit ]

Artabazos, together with Megabyzus, then satrap of Syria, had command of the Persian armies sent to put down the revolt of Inarus in Egypt. They arrived in 456 BC, and within two years had put down the revolt, capturing Inarus and various Athenians supporting him. Γ] They then turned their attention to Cyprus, which was under attack by the Athenians, led by Cimon. Shortly afterwards hostilities between Persia and Athens ceased, called the peace of Callias.

Origin of the Egyptian campaign [ edit ]

When Xerxes I was assassinated in 465 BC, he was succeeded by his son Artaxerxes I, but several parts of the Achaemenid empire soon revolted, foremost of which were Bactria and Egypt. The Egyptian Inarus defeated the Persian satrap of Egypt Achaemenes, a brother of Artaxerxes, and took control of Lower Egypt. He contacted the Greeks, who were also officially still at war with Persia, and in 460 BC, Athens sent an expeditionary force of 200 ships and 6000 heavy infantry to support Inarus. The Egyptian and Athenian troops defeated the local Persian troops of Egypt, and captured the city of Memphis, except for the Persian citadel which they besieged for several years.

Siege of Memphis (459-455 BC) [ edit ]

The Athenians and Egyptians had settled down to besiege the local Persian troops in Egypt, at the White Castle. The siege evidently did not progress well, and probably lasted for at least four years, since Thucydides says that their whole expedition lasted 6 years, Δ] and of this time the final 18 months was occupied with the Siege of Prosoptis. Ε]

According to Thucydides, at first Artaxerxes sent Megabazus to try and bribe the Spartans into invading Attica, to draw off the Athenian forces from Egypt. When this failed, he instead assembled a large army under Megabyzus, and dispatched it to Egypt. Ε] Diodorus has more or less the same story, with more detail after the attempt at bribery failed, Artaxerxes put Megabyzus and Artabazus in charge of 300,000 men, with instructions to quell the revolt. They went first from Persia to Cilicia and gathered a fleet of 300 triremes from the Cilicians, Phoenicians and Cypriots, and spent a year training their men. Then they finally headed to Egypt. Ζ] Modern estimates, however, place the number of Persian troops at the considerably lower figure of 25,000 men given that it would have been highly impractical to deprive the already strained satrapies of any more man power than that. Η] Thucydides does not mention Artabazus, who is reported by Herodotus to have taken part in the second Persian invasion Diodorus may be mistaken about his presence in this campaign. ⎖] It is clearly possible that the Persian forces did spend some prolonged time in training, since it took four years for them to respond to the Egyptian victory at Papremis. Although neither author gives many details, it is clear that when Megabyzus finally arrived in Egypt, he was able to quickly lift the Siege of Memphis, defeating the Egyptians in battle, and driving the Athenians from Memphis. Ε] ⎗]

Siege of Prosopitis (455 BC) [ edit ]

The Athenians now fell back to the island of Prosopitis in the Nile delta, where their ships were moored. Ε] ⎗] There, Megabyzus laid siege to them for 18 months, until finally he was able to drain the river from around the island by digging canals, thus "joining the island to the mainland". Ε] In Thucydides's account the Persians then crossed over to the former island, and captured it. Ε] Only a few of the Athenian force, marching through Libya to Cyrene survived to return to Athens. Δ] In Diodorus's version, however, the draining of the river prompted the Egyptians (whom Thucydides does not mention) to defect and surrender to the Persians. The Persians, not wanting to sustain heavy casualties in attacking the Athenians, instead allowed them to depart freely to Cyrene, whence they returned to Athens. ⎗] Since the defeat of the Egyptian expedition caused a genuine panic in Athens, including the relocation of the Delian treasury to Athens, Thucydides's version is probably more likely to be correct. ⎘]

Stamboom Homs » Artabazus I Satrap of Phrygia (Artabazus I) Satrap of Phrygia (± 525-± 449)

Satrap of Daskyleon Artabazos I Arshâmid died 0449 B.C..1 Satrap of Daskyleon, Anatolia, Persian Empire, 0477-0468 B.C..3 He was a general 0480-0479 B.C..1 He was the son of Governor of Persepolis Pharnaces Arshâmid.4 He was born 0525 B.C..1 Also called Artabates.5

Children of Satrap of Daskyleon Artabazos I Arshâmid:

Satrap of Daskyleon Pharnabazos I Arshâmid+ b. 0480 B.C., d. 0414 B.C.

[S204] Roderick W. Stuart, Royalty for Commoners: The Complete Lineage of John of Gaunt, Son of Edward III, Kings of England, and Queen Philippa (.: ., 3rd Ed., 1998), 411-86. Hereinafter cited as RfC.

[S723] Herodotus of Halicarnassus, The History of Herodotus (London and New York: MacMillan and Co., 1890), Book 2 - Polymnia, [7.66]. Hereinafter cited as Herodotus' History.

[S1052] Chris Bennett's Egyptian Royal Genealogy Website, online . Hereinafter cited as Egyptian Royal Genealogy.

[S204] Roderick W. Stuart, RfC, 411-87.

[S723] Herodotus of Halicarnassus, Herodotus' History, Book 2 - Polymnia, [7.65].

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Excavation in Daskyleion, July 2012 Daskyleion Daskyleion Daskyleion Daskyleion Daskyleion Early Hellenistic tower in Daskyleion Early Hellenistic tower in Daskyleion Hellenistic road to acropolis in Daskyleion Hellenistic road to acropolis in Daskyleion Lydian city wall in Daskyleion Lydian city wall in Daskyleion Lydian city wall in Daskyleion Lydian city wall in Daskyleion Phrygian city wall in Daskyleion Phrygian city wall in Daskyleion Phrygian city wall in Daskyleion Persian city wall in Daskyleion Persian city wall in Daskyleion Main gate from the Byzantine period Information about Daskyleion

Arrian on the mutiny at Opis

In August 324, Alexander's soldiers revolted: they were discontent because of their king's orientalism. The Greek author Arrian of Nicomedia describes this event in section 7.8-9 and 7.11 of his Anabasis.

The translation was made by M.M. Austin.

The Mutiny at Opis

[7.8.1] On arriving at Opis, note [Not far south of modern Baghdad.] Alexander called together the Macedonians and declared that he was discharging from the campaign and sending back to their country those who were unfit for service because of age or wounds suffered. The presents he would give would make them an object of even greater envy at home and would encourage the other Macedonians to take part in the same dangers and hardships.

[7.8.2] Alexander spoke these words with the clear intention of pleasing the Macedonians, but they felt Alexander now despised them and regarded them as completely unfit for service. It was not unreasonable for them to take exception to Alexander's words, and they had had many grievances throughout the expedition. There was the recurring annoyance of Alexander's Persian dress which pointed in the same direction, and the training of the barbarian "Successors" in the Macedonian style of warfare, note [This unit was created in 327 and had recently arrived at Susa.] and the introduction of foreign cavalry into the squadrons of the Companions.

[7.8.3] They could not keep quiet any longer, but all shouted to Alexander to discharge them from service and take his father on the expedition (by this insult they meant Ammon). note [The Egyptian god Alexander believed him to be his father.]

When Alexander heard this - he was now rather more quick-tempered and eastern flattery had made him become arrogant towards the Macedonians - he leaped from the platform with the leaders around him and ordered the arrest of the most conspicuous troublemakers, indicating to the hypaspists the men for arrest, thirteen in all. He ordered them to be led off for execution, and when a terrified silence had fallen on the others he ascended the platform again and spoke as follows.

[7.9.1] "Macedonians, my speech will not be aimed at stopping your urge to return home as far as I am concerned you may go where you like. But I want you to realize on departing what I have done for you, and what you have done for me.

[7.9.2] Let me begin, as is right, with my father Philip. He found you wandering about without resources, many of you clothed in sheepskins and pasturing small flocks in the mountains, defending them with difficulty against the Illyrians, Triballians and neighboring Thracians. He gave you cloaks to wear instead of sheepskins, brought you down from the mountains to the plains, and made you a match in war for the neighboring barbarians, owing your safety to your own bravery and no longer to reliance on your mountain strongholds. He made you city dwellers and civilized you with good laws and customs.

[7.9.3] Those barbarians who used to harrass you and plunder your property, he made you their leaders instead of their slaves and subjects. He annexed much of Thrace to Macedonia, seized the most favorable coastal towns and opened up the country to commerce, and enabled you to exploit your mines undisturbed.

[7.9.4] He made you governors of the Thessalians, before whom you used to die of fright, humbled the Phocians and so opened a broad and easy path into Greece in place of a narrow and difficult one. The Athenians and Thebans, who were permanently poised to attack Macedonia, he so humbled (and I was now helping him in this task note [This refers to the battle of Chaeronea in 338.] ) that instead of you paying tribute to the Athenians and being under the sway of the Thebans, they now in turn had to seek their safety from us.

[7.9.5] He marched into the Peloponnese and settled matters there too. He was appointed commander-in-chief of all Greece for the campaign against the Persians, but preferred to assign the credit to all the Macedonians rather than just to himself. note [This refers to the Corinthian league.]

[7.9.6] Such were the achievements of my father on your behalf as you can see for yourselves, they are great, and yet small in comparison with my own. I inherited from my father a few gold and silver cups, and less than 60 talents in the treasury Philip had debts amounting to 500 talents, and I raised a loan of a further 800. I started from a country that could barely sustain you and immediately opened up the Hellespont for you, although the Persians then held the mastery of the sea.

[7.9.7] I defeated in a cavalry engagement the satraps of Darius note [This refers to the battle of the Granicus river.] and annexed to your rule the whole of Ionia and Aeolis, both Phrygias and Lydia, and took Miletus by storm.

All the rest came over to our side spontaneously, and I made them yours for you to enjoy.

[7.9.8] All the wealth of Egypt and Cyrene, which I won without a fight, are now yours, Coele Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia are your possession, Babylonia and Bactria and Elam belong to you, you own the wealth of Lydia, the treasures of Persia, the riches of India, and the outer ocean. You are satraps, you are generals, you are captains. As for me, what do I have left from all these labors? Merely this purple cloak and a diadem."

[7.11.1] When he had finished Alexander quickly leaped down from the platform, retired to the royal tent and neglected his bodily needs. For that day and the day after he would not let any of his Companions see him. On the third day he invited inside the élite of the Persians, appointed them to the command of all the squadrons, and only allowed those who received the title of "kinsmen" from him to kiss him.

[7.11.2] As for the Macedonians, they were at first struck dumb by his speech and waited for him near the platform. No one followed the departing king, apart from the Companions around him and the bodyguards, but the majority were unable to decide what to do or say or to make up their minds to go away.

[7.11.3] When they were told what was happening with the Persians and Medes, that the command was being given to Persians and the oriental army was being divided into companies, that Macedonian names were being given to them, and there was a Persian squadron and Persian foot-companions and other infantry and a Persian regiment of Silver Shields, and a Companion cavalry together with another royal squadron, they could not endure it any longer.

[7.11.4] They ran in a body to the royal tent, cast their weapons down in front of the doors as a sign of supplication to the king, and standing before the doors shouted to the king to come out. They were prepared to hand over those responsible for the present disturbance and those who had raised the outcry. They would not move from the doors by day or night until Alexander took pity on them.

[7.11.5] When this was reported to Alexander, he quickly came out and saw their humble disposition he heard the majority crying and lamenting, and was moved to tears. He came forward to speak, but they remained there imploring him.

[7.11.6] One of them, whose age and command of the Companion cavalry made him preeminent (he was called Callines) spoke as follows. "Sire, what grieves the Macedonians is that you have already made some Persians your 'kinsmen', and the Persians are called 'kinsmen' of Alexander and are allowed to kiss you, while not one of the Macedonians has been granted this honor."

[7.11.7] Alexander then interrupted him and said "I make you all my 'kinsmen' and henceforward that shall be your title." At this Callines stepped forward and kissed him, and so did everyone else who wished. And thus they picked up their arms again and returned to the camp amid shouts and songs of triumph.

[7.11.8] Alexander celebrated the occasion by sacrificing to the gods he normally sacrificed to, and offering a public banquet. He sat down and so did everyone else, the Macedonians around him, the Persians next to them, then any of the other peoples who enjoyed precedence for their reputation or some other quality. Then he and those around him drew wine from the same bowl and poured the same libations, beginning with the Greek seers and the Magians.

[7.11.9] He prayed for other blessings and for harmony and partnership in rule between Macedonians and Persians. It is said that there were 9,000 guests at the banquet, who all poured the same libation and then sang the song of victory.

Greek military service in the ancient Near East, 401-330 BCE

The recruitment of Greek soldiers into the armies of the Near East during the fourth century BC has long been attributed to the alleged superiority of the Greek hoplite: armed with superior strategic insight and tactical expertise, Greek soldiers supposedly helped mitigate deficiencies in the Near Eastern armies. This notion—dubbed ‘The Greek Thesis’ by Pierre Briant—originates in ancient literary sources, and has effortlessly found its way into the vast majority of modern scholarship. In this monograph, Jeffrey Rop builds a robust case against The Greek Thesis, showing that the idea of Greek military superiority is unfounded. The volume’s secondary aim is to show that the increased presence of Greeks in the Near Eastern armies during the fourth century should be seen as ‘part of an international system based on political patronage and reciprocity’ (p. 2), within which Greek soldiers acted as political agents seeking to further the interests of their home poleis. Rop therefore reserves a key role for the Near East in his revisionist reading of the complex history of the fourth century, and forcefully argues that the recruitment of Greeks should not be attributed to shortcomings in the armies of the Near East, but acknowledged as a sign of the latter region’s unprecedented influence within Greece.

The first chapter (‘The Greek Thesis’) discusses the origin and development of The Greek Thesis and offers a methodology on how to reconsider its validity. Rop proposes that The Greek Thesis ought to be tested by examining each account of Greek military service in the Near East individually. He does so from a historiographical perspective, arguing that each account makes use of the literary tropes of the ‘Tragic Advisor’ or the ‘Dynamic Subordinate’, exemplified by a Greek whose advice goes foolishly unappreciated, or whose skill and expertise in the face of dramatic obstacles during the campaign ensure the victory. As asserted by Rop, this narrative device allows Greeks to be portrayed as never at fault for defeat, but always responsible for victory, and therefore underlies the success of The Greek Thesis. This literary analysis is fruitfully combined with traditional military history, and Rop continuously evaluates descriptions of the Greeks’ alleged military contributions in light of what would have been sound strategy or tactics. The book’s second line of argument is supported by a discussion of modern scholarship’s view of these Greeks as ‘mercenaries’. Rop convincingly argues that this term should be viewed as an anachronism which misrepresents and obfuscates the nature of these soldiers’ service: for while it is true that these men received wages, throughout the book it is clear that they were not simply available to the highest bidder. Instead, their service was politically motivated, and the Greeks are shown to have aligned themselves with whichever power might best promote their home polis’s interests.

Rop first tests his arguments against the expedition of the Ten Thousand in 401 BC in two ensuing chapters, respectively titled ‘The Battle of Cunaxa’ and ‘Greece and the Rebellion of Cyrus the Younger’. A close literary analysis of the fatal clash between Cyrus’s army and that of the Persian King reveals that the long-revered contribution of the Ten Thousand was in reality a catastrophe in strategy, and that the Greek hoplites’ lack of manoeuvrability in the open plains of Mesopotamia was successfully exploited by their opponent. Accordingly, Rop not only rejects the claimed superiority of the Ten Thousand—who can be said to have endangered the campaign—but also illustrates the strategic insight of Artaxerxes and his Near Eastern generals. This discussion is followed by an inquiry into the reasons why the Greeks were recruited, if their military contribution was meagre it is here that the historical significance of the rejection of The Greek Thesis becomes manifest. Rop highlights that the Greeks’ loyalty was not ensured through pay, and that Cyrus and the Ten Thousand were instead committed to each other through the formal relationship of xenia. Indeed, the Anabasis introduces many of the Greek commanders as Cyrus’ xenoi—in the sense of guest friends, not mercenaries—who had been offered financial support in aid of their individual ambitions and so, it is recalled that Cyrus funded Clearchus’ campaign in the Thracian Chersonese, Aristippus’ war in Thessaly, and Proxenus’ manoeuvres in Boiotia. Since these men’s careers were therefore dependent on Cyrus (and indeed on Cyrus’ victory), they were committed to the rebel’s success. In this way, the recruitment of the Ten Thousand does not reflect Greek military superiority, but rather Cyrus’ influence in Greece through his successful leveraging and cultivation of the xenia relationship between himself and competing Greeks. This is a challenging claim, and one that encourages reconsideration of Greek motivations for military service abroad throughout the fourth century.

In Chapter 4 (‘Greeks in Persia and Egypt, ca. 400-360’), Rop considers subsequent instances of Greek military in the Near East. He provides assessments of the service of the Athenian Conon in the army of Pharnabazus of Chabrias’ service in the army of the Egyptian pharaoh Acoris of Iphicrates’ recruitment by Pharnabazus and of the Spartan King Agesilaos’ service in the Egyptian armies of Tachos and Nectanebos respectively. From this discussion, it emerges again that The Greek Thesis does not hold. These Greeks were not employed for their skill as hoplites, and their military contributions predominantly fell in the naval sphere this might seem obvious for the Athenians, but Rop demonstrates that even the Spartan King Agesilaos’ main contribution was the provision of access to triremes. Once more, the Near Eastern generals are shown to have successfully devised strategic and tactical plans themselves, without intervention from the supposed specialists from Greece. Finally, Rop illustrates that in each case, the Greek men were recruited so as to create or reinforce alliances between the Greek states and the Near East, as indicated especially by the employment of Iphicrates and Agesilaus, whose service was sanctioned by their home poleis, Athens and Sparta.

Next up is the revolt of Artabazus and the so-called ‘Mercenaries Decree’ (chapter 5, ‘The Revolt of Artabazus’). According to traditional accounts, this decree was issued in 359 and demanded all coastal satraps to let their Greek forces go, sparking the revolt of the satrap Artabazus two years later. This decree has often been interpreted as evidence for the King’s fear of Greek soldiers on Persian soil, which makes it of crucial importance to The Greek Thesis. Rop, however, raises serious objections to this interpretation and to the validity of the decree itself, arguing that the traditional views and chronology do not adequately account for the respective parties’ motivations. Rop questions, for instance, why the Persian King would willingly let the Greek soldiers go, running the risk they would immediately enlist with a rival, or why Artabazus initially appears to have complied with the order. According to Rop, the accuracy of events is contingent on the version offered by Demosthenes’ Scholiast, which is the only one in which the ‘Mercenaries Decree’ features, and argues the decree is in fact a fabrication by the Scholiast. In Rop’s view, the true decree to which the scholiast refers is none other than the King’s order of 355 that the Athenians withdraw from Artabazus in order to end the Social War. Thus, the Mercenaries Decree was never issued, and Artabazus did not rebel but remained loyal until his exile in 353. In this chapter, Rop therefore offers an astute argument that provides a novel take on a longstanding and complex problem of fourth century Near Eastern history.

Chapter 6 (‘The Persian Conquest of Egypt’) sees Rop return to Egypt and discuss Greek service in the Near East during the time of Artaxerxes III’s campaigns against Egypt. He treats the rebellion in Cyprus and the Levant, the Persian invasion strategy, Nectanebos’ defence of Egypt, and concludes with an assessment of the international politics and Greek military service in Egypt. Rop once again successfully demonstrates the invalidity of The Greek Thesis through his thorough analysis: Egypt is shown to have recruited its Greeks primarily to boost their numbers against the large invading force, and the Greeks were not given special ranks or positions. The political nature of their service is evident in the fact that both Egypt and Persia only recruited from existing political allies.

In the final chapters (‘The Greco-Persian Defense of Western Anatolia’ and ‘The Fall of the Achaemenid Empire’), Rop concentrates on the rise of Macedonia and the campaign of Alexander. By now the conclusions should be predictable: alleged Greek superiority is the result of narrative devices used by the Greek and Roman authors, while Persian strategy and tactics were sensible in their own right. In Rop’s detailed analysis, the contribution of generals of Greek stock were modest. Memnon of Rhodes, for example, is said to have had no role to play in the victories attributed to him, but was instead responsible for some loss of territory. Once again, the presence of Greeks in the Near Eastern armies is explained by political motives, with Persian and Greek interests now aligned due to the growing threat of Macedonia. In this final case study, however, Greek enlistment for political reasons seems more straightforward than Rop acknowledges, and certainly more so than in earlier instances discussed. Diodorus, for example, affirms that the Greeks who had been rallied for Darius by Memnon enlisted because they shared the Persian hope (e.g. Diod. 17. 29.3-4) and Arrian’s Alexander likewise appears acutely aware of the Greeks’ political motivations, as evidenced by his distinct treatment of Greek soldiers who had enlisted with Darius before and after the Common Peace (Arr. An. 3.24.5).

Overall, Jeffrey Rop’s Greek Military Service in the Near East is an exciting study of an often neglected period in ancient history. Its close analysis of battle narratives serves as an important reminder that the works of the ancient historians are literary artefacts and ought to be treated as such. At the same time, Rop’s novel interrogation of traditional military history offers a close survey of Greco-Persian relations in the fourth century and reveals that they were closer than has traditionally been assumed, making this monograph essential reading for anyone with an interest in the period.


Artaxerxes is the Latin form of the Greek Artaxerxes ( Αρταξέρξης ), itself from the Old Persian Artaxšaçā ("whose reign is through truth"). [1] It is known in other languages as Elamite Ir-tak-ik-ša-iš-ša, Ir-da-ik-ša-iš-ša Akkadian Ar-ta-ʾ-ḫa-šá-is-su Middle Persian and New Persian Ardašīr. [2] [3] His personal name was Ochus (Greek: Ôchos, Babylonian: Ú-ma-kuš). [4]

Ochus was the legitimate son of Artaxerxes II and his wife Stateira. [4] He had two elder full-brothers, Ariaspes and Darius (the eldest). [5] He also had many illegitimate brothers born to concubine mothers, which the 2nd-century AD Roman writer Justin numbered to be 115. [6] Out of all the sons, it was Darius who had been appointed as the heir to the empire, thus receiving the royal privilege of wearing the upright tiara. However, Artaxerxes II's long reign frustrated the latter, who was already over 50 years old. Incited by the former satrap Tiribazus, he started plotting against his father to quicken his succession. [7] [8] Darius expected that he would receive support from many courtiers, including fifty of his illegitimate brothers according to Justin. [8] A eunuch discovered the conspiracy, and as a result Darius was summoned to the court and executed, "along with the wives and children of all the conspirators" (Justin). [8] The right of succession then passed over to Ariaspes. However, Ochus, with the support of some eunuchs, [a] created a series of ruses and allegations to make his legitimate brother Ariaspes go mad and commit suicide. [8] Artaxerxes II, who disliked Ochus, appointed his favourite illegitimate son Arsames as the new crown prince. He was, however, soon killed by Arpates at the instigation of Ochus. [8] [7] [10] Ochus was then finally appointed as crown prince, with Artaxerxes dying shortly after. [7] [10]

At his accession in 358 BC, Artaxerxes III demanded that all the satraps in western Anatolia were to disband their mercenary forces. This was done to diminish the power of powerful satraps and consolidate the power of the crown. Indeed, under Artaxerxes III's father, the satrap Datames had with the help of his mercenaries ruled a more or less independent state, while previously the Achaemenid prince Cyrus the Younger had almost managed to overthrow Artaxerxes II with the help of his mercenaries. [11] All the satraps followed his order and disbanded their mercenaries. Later in 356 BC, Artaxerxes III attempted to dismiss Artabazus II from his satrapy of Hellespontine Phrygia, which resulted in the latter revolting. His royal blood through his mother Apama, a sister of Artaxerxes III, may have made the latter vigilant towards him. [11] Artabazus' two brothers are Oxythres and Dibictus are also reported to have joined him, which implies that Artaxerxes III was targeting the whole family. [11]

Artaxerxes III sent the other satraps in Anatolia—Tithraustes, Autophradates and Mausolus—to suppress the revolt. [12] Artabazus quickly joined forces with the Athenian military commander Chares, who had acquired most of his disbanded mercenary unit. Together, they defeated the satraps in 355 BC and marched deeper into Greater Phrygia, ransacking the region. [13] Artaxerxes III quickly pressured Athens to stop supporting Artabazus by the threat of war. [14] Artabazus subsequently found a new ally in the Thebian general Pammenes, who supplied him with 5,000 soldiers in 354 BC. [15] Further defeats were inflicted on the Achaemenid forces, but Artabazus soon fell out with Pammenes, and had him arrested. In 354/3 BC, he ceased his rebellion and fled to Macedonia, where he was well-received by its king, Philip II. [16] [17]

In around 351 BC, Artaxerxes embarked on a campaign to recover Egypt, which had revolted under his father, Artaxerxes II. At the same time a rebellion had broken out in Asia Minor, which, being supported by Thebes, threatened to become serious. [18] Levying a vast army, Artaxerxes marched into Egypt, and engaged Nectanebo II. After a year of fighting the Egyptian Pharaoh, Nectanebo inflicted a crushing defeat on the Persians with the support of mercenaries led by the Greek generals: the Athenian Diophantus and the Spartan Lamius. [19] [20] Artaxerxes was compelled to retreat and postpone his plans to reconquer Egypt.

Soon after this Egyptian defeat, Phoenicia, Anatolia and Cyprus declared their independence from Persian rule. In 343 BC, Artaxerxes committed responsibility for the suppression of the Cyprian rebels to Idrieus, prince of Caria, who employed 8000 Greek mercenaries and forty triremes, commanded by Phocion the Athenian, and Evagoras, son of the elder Evagoras, the Cypriot monarch. [21] [22] Idrieus succeeded in reducing Cyprus.

Sidon campaign of Belesys and Mazaeus Edit

Artaxerxes initiated a counter-offensive against Sidon by commanding the satrap of Syria Belesys and Mazaeus, the satrap of Cilicia, to invade the city and to keep the Phoenicians in check. [23] Both satraps suffered crushing defeats at the hands of Tennes, the Sidonese king, who was aided by 40,000 Greek mercenaries sent to him by Nectanebo II and commanded by Mentor of Rhodes. As a result, the Persian forces were driven out of Phoenicia. [22]

Sidon campaign of Artaxerxes Edit

After this, Artaxerxes personally led an army of 330,000 men against Sidon. Artaxerxes' army comprised 300,000 foot soldiers, 30,000 cavalry, 300 triremes, and 500 transports or provision ships. After gathering this army, he sought assistance from the Greeks. Though refused aid by Athens and Sparta, he succeeded in obtaining a thousand Theban heavy-armed hoplites under Lacrates, three thousand Argives under Nicostratus, and six thousand Æolians, Ionians, and Dorians from the Greek cities of Anatolia. This Greek support was numerically small, amounting to no more than 10,000 men, but it formed, together with the Greek mercenaries from Egypt who went over to him afterwards, the force on which he placed his chief reliance, and to which the ultimate success of his expedition was mainly due.

The approach of Artaxerxes sufficiently weakened the resolution of Tennes that he endeavoured to purchase his own pardon by delivering up 100 principal citizens of Sidon into the hands of the Persian king, and then admitting Artaxerxes within the defences of the town. Artaxerxes had the 100 citizens transfixed with javelins, and when 500 more came out as supplicants to seek his mercy, Artaxerxes consigned them to the same fate. Sidon was then burnt to the ground, either by Artaxerxes or by the Sidonian citizens. Forty thousand people died in the conflagration. [22] Artaxerxes sold the ruins at a high price to speculators, who calculated on reimbursing themselves by the treasures which they hoped to dig out from among the ashes. [24] Tennes was later put to death by Artaxerxes. [25] Artaxerxes later sent Jews who supported the revolt to Hyrcania, on the south coast of the Caspian Sea. [26] [27]

The reduction of Sidon was followed closely by the invasion of Egypt. In 343 BC, Artaxerxes, in addition to his 330,000 Persians, had now a force of 14,000 Greeks furnished by the Greek cities of Asia Minor: 4,000 under Mentor, consisting of the troops which he had brought to the aid of Tennes from Egypt 3,000 sent by Argos and 1000 from Thebes. He divided these troops into three bodies, and placed at the head of each a Persian and a Greek. The Greek commanders were Lacrates of Thebes, Mentor of Rhodes and Nicostratus of Argos while the Persians were led by Rhossaces, Aristazanes, and Bagoas, the chief of the eunuchs. Nectanebo II resisted with an army of 100,000 of whom 20,000 were Greek mercenaries. Nectanebo II occupied the Nile and its various branches with his large navy. The character of the country, intersected by numerous canals, and full of strongly fortified towns, was in his favour and Nectanebo II might have been expected to offer a prolonged, if not even a successful, resistance. But he lacked good generals, and over-confident in his own powers of command, he was able to be out-manoeuvred by the Greek mercenary generals and his forces eventually defeated by the combined Persian armies. [22]

After his defeat, Nectanebo hastily fled to Memphis, leaving the fortified towns to be defended by their garrisons. These garrisons consisted of partly Greek and partly Egyptian troops between whom jealousies and suspicions were easily sown by the Persian leaders. As a result, the Persians were able to rapidly reduce numerous towns across Lower Egypt and were advancing upon Memphis when Nectanebo decided to quit the country and flee southwards to Ethiopia. [22] The Persian army completely routed the Egyptians and occupied the Lower Delta of the Nile. Following Nectanebo fleeing to Ethiopia, all of Egypt submitted to Artaxerxes. The Jews in Egypt were sent either to Babylon or to the south coast of the Caspian Sea, the same location that the Jews of Phoenicia had earlier been sent.

After this victory over the Egyptians, Artaxerxes had the city walls destroyed, started a reign of terror, and set about looting all the temples. Persia gained a significant amount of wealth from this looting. Artaxerxes also raised high taxes and attempted to weaken Egypt enough that it could never revolt against Persia. For the 10 years that Persia controlled Egypt, believers in the native religion were persecuted and sacred books were stolen. [29] Before he returned to Persia, he appointed Pherendares as satrap of Egypt. With the wealth gained from his reconquering Egypt, Artaxerxes was able to amply reward his mercenaries. He then returned to his capital having successfully completed his invasion of Egypt.

After his success in Egypt, Artaxerxes returned to Persia and spent the next few years effectively quelling insurrections in various parts of the Empire so that a few years after his conquest of Egypt, the Persian Empire was firmly under his control. Egypt remained a part of the Persian Empire until Alexander the Great's conquest of Egypt.

After the conquest of Egypt, there were no more revolts or rebellions against Artaxerxes. Mentor of Rhodes and Bagoas, the two generals who had most distinguished themselves in the Egyptian campaign, were advanced to posts of the highest importance. Mentor, who was governor of the entire Asiatic seaboard, was successful in reducing to subjection many of the chiefs who during the recent troubles had rebelled against Persian rule. In the course of a few years Mentor and his forces were able to bring the whole Asian Mediterranean coast into complete submission and dependence.

Bagoas went back to the Persian capital with Artaxerxes, where he took a leading role in the internal administration of the Empire and maintained tranquility throughout the rest of the Empire. During the last six years of the reign of Artaxerxes III, the Persian Empire was governed by a vigorous and successful government. [22]

The Persian forces in Ionia and Lycia regained control of the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea and took over much of Athens’ former island empire. In response, Isocrates of Athens started giving speeches calling for a ‘crusade against the barbarians’ but there was not enough strength left in any of the Greek city-states to answer his call. [30]

Although there weren't any rebellions in the Persian Empire itself, the growing power and territory of Philip II of Macedon in Macedon (against which Demosthenes was in vain warning the Athenians) attracted the attention of Artaxerxes. In response, he ordered that Persian influence was to be used to check and constrain the rising power and influence of the Macedonian kingdom. In 340 BC, a Persian force was dispatched to assist the Thracian prince, Cersobleptes, to maintain his independence. Sufficient effective aid was given to the city of Perinthus that the numerous and well-appointed army with which Philip had commenced his siege of the city was compelled to give up the attempt. [22] By the last year of Artaxerxes' rule, Philip II already had plans in place for an invasion of the Persian Empire, which would crown his career, but the Greeks would not unite with him. [31]

In late August/late September 338 BC, the court eunuch and chiliarch (hazahrapatish) Bagoas orchestrated the poisoning and subsequent death of Artaxerxes III through the latters own physician. [b] [33] [34] Artaxerxes III's early death proved to be a problematic issue for Persia, [35] and may have played a role in the weakening of the country. [36] The majority of Artaxerxes III's sons, with the exception of Arses and Bisthanes, were also murdered by Bagoas. [4] Bagoas, acting as kingmaker, put the young Arses (Artaxerxes IV) on the throne. [4] [36] [37]

Historically, kings of the Achaemenid Empire were followers of Zoroaster or heavily influenced by Zoroastrian ideology. The reign of Artaxerxes II saw a revival of the cult of Anahita and Mithra, when in his building inscriptions he invoked Ahura Mazda, Anahita and Mithra and even set up statues of his gods. [38] Mithra and Anahita had until then been neglected by true Zoroastrians—they defied Zoroaster’s command that God was to be represented only by the flames of a sacred fire. [25] Artaxerxes III is thought to have rejected Anahita and worshipped only Ahuramazda and Mithra. [39] An ambiguity in the cuneiform script of an inscription of Artaxerxes III at Persepolis suggests that he regarded the father and the son as one person, suggesting that the attributes of Ahuramazda were being transferred to Mithra. Strangely, Artaxerxes had ordered that statues of the goddess Anâhita be erected at Babylon, Damascus and Sardis, as well as at Susa, Ecbatana and Persepolis. [40]

Artaxerxes' name appears on silver coins (modeled on Athenian ones) issued while he was in Egypt. The reverse bears an inscription in an Egyptian script, saying "Artaxerxes Pharaoh. Life, Prosperity, Wealth". [41]

In literature Edit

It is thought by some that the Book of Judith could have been originally based on Artaxerxes' campaign in Phoenicia, as Holofernes was the name of the brother of the Cappadocian satrap Ariarathes, the vassal of Artaxerxes. Bagoas, the general that finds Holofernes dead, was one of the generals of Artaxerxes during his campaign against Phoenicia and Egypt. [42] [43]

Construction Edit

There is evidence for a renewed building policy at Persepolis, but some of the buildings were unfinished at the time of his death. Two of his buildings at Persepolis were the Hall of Thirty-Two Columns, the purpose of which is unknown, and the palace of Artaxerxes III. The unfinished Army Road and Unfinished Gate, which connected the Gate of All Nations and the One-hundred Column Hall, gave archaeologists an insight into the construction of Persepolis. [18] In 341 BC, after Artaxerxes returned to Babylon from Egypt, he apparently proceeded to build a great Apadana whose description is present in the works of Diodorus Siculus.

The Nebuchadnezzar II palace in Babylon was expanded during the reign of Artaxerxes III. [44] Artaxerxes' tomb was cut into the mountain behind the Persepolis platform, next to his father's tomb.

Artaxerxes III was the son of Artaxerxes II and Statira. Artaxerxes II had more than 115 sons by many wives, most of them however were illegitimate. Some of Ochus' more significant siblings were Rodogune, Apama, Sisygambis, Ocha, Darius and Ariaspes, most of whom were murdered soon after his ascension. [30]